NEW ULM - The animal attractions are a big part of the Brown County Fair and the Dock Dogs event is extremely popular.
Dock Dogs is a jumping contest for dogs. A tank of water over 35 feet in length is place at the end of dock and the canines attempt to jump the farthest, the highest, or the fastest.
The Northern Stars Branch of Dock Dogs has been coming to the New Ulm fair for the last three years and consistently draws a crowd.
Staff photo by Clay Schuldt
At age seven, Shadow is still able to reach impressive heights in the Dock Dogs Extreme Vertical competition. Shadow is owned by Bob Sorenson.
President of DDNS, Cheri McClaine said that during the dock setup on Thursday, many anxious spectators asked when it would be ready. This is the fourth and final event hosted by the Northern Star Branch this year. The number of participants is expected to grow for Saturday's events.
The fun started Friday morning. The dogs in their handlers were given open practice before the Big Air distance contests.
Saturday will include two more distance divisions as well as a Speed Retrieve, in which the dogs compete to be the fastest.
The big event for one local competitor is the Extreme Vertical Competition at 4 p.m. Bob Sorenson's black lab Shadow will be participating in the contest. Shadow is a champion Dock Dog, having reached heights over seven feet. Sorenson has faith his dog will do well in the competition, but admits at age seven, Shadow is probably won't break any records. The may goal this weekend is to have fun.
Another goal is to raise money for BAARK (Basic Assistance And Recovery Kindness) Foundation. The foundation was started to help members of Dock Dogs in times of need. In 2014 Dock Dogs is building. Supporters may purchase a chain link for $1 which will be connected to the chain and displayed during the fair.
A special $10 Fun Jump is scheduled Saturday morning for any dog who wish to see if they have a hidden talent. DDNS members and veterans will be on hand to provide assistances and pointers for dogs new to the sport.
"You don't need a special breed to compete," said DDNS member Sherry Olson-Justice. Olson-Justice commented that most of the dogs were rescue animals. "The only requirements is that a dog likes the water and likes to chase its toys."
The Dock Dogs competitions will run through fair weekend. Competition on Sunday starts at 10 a.m., with the finals scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday.